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Integration of refugees

Zwei junge Leute halten einen Globus

Berlin is a city of diversity, where people of different worldviews, cultural backgrounds, origins, and religions live together. And Berlin’s history is a story of immigration and integration. Over the past years, Berlin has taken in an extraordinary number of refugees. A large number of these refugees had already attended a university in their home countries or gained a higher education entrance qualification.
Berlin’s public colleges and universities are supporting this group with, for instance, preparatory courses and language classes to make it easier for refugees to start or continue university studies leading to a degree. Besides special counseling and support, refugees also have the opportunity to audit courses.
Below, you will find information and links on the universities’ offerings.
In December 2018 the Berlin Senate adopted a Gesamtkonzept zur Integration und Partizipation Geflüchteter, which supports the measures described here.

General information on university studies for refugees

University studies for refugees

Refugees can start university studies leading to a degree under the same conditions as other international applicants.

Further information on university admission requirements (in German)

Minimus requirements for university admision:

  • 1. A Higher Education Entrance Qualification (in German: “Hochschulzugangsberechtigung”) –This is a school-leaving certificate which qualifies you for university study.

The DAAD entrance qualification database can help you finding out whether your university entrance qualification is recognised in Germany (available in German or English). You can obtain more specific data about other countries and certificates at Anabin (only available in German). These websites provide non-binding information about whether your certificate will be recognised.
If your school-leaving certificate is not recognised, you have to take the Feststellungsprüfung – an assessment test where you will be examined in several subjects that are important for your choice of study programme, including a language test. The Studienkolleg (preparatory course) prepares you academically and linguistically for studies in Germany and the Feststellungsprüfung. The Studienkolleg is the university preparatory course and takes one year (two semesters) to complete on a full-time basis. In Berlin Studienkollegs are offered at Free University as well as a at the Technical University .

If certificates are incomplete or missing due to forced migration, universities offer procedures that facilitate the documentation of the higher education entry qualification.

For further information please check the resolution Access and Admission to Institutions of Higher Education for Applicants who are Unable to provide Evidence of a Higher Education Entrance Qualification Obtained in their Home Country on Account of their Flight (Download PDF) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs dated 3 December 2015.
Uni-assist offers further information for refugees interested in studying in Germany and provides a self-disclosure form where you have to detail your educational background.

Recognition of credits / study periods

If you have already completed periods of study and obtained credits at another university and would like to apply for a higher degree semester please contact the universtity you wish to apply for about the procedure of recognition of previous earned credits

  • 2. Proof of Language Proficiency
    German language skills on a high level are an essential precondition for studying. Courses are usually taught in German. Most universities require a language level in German of B2 to C1.

A list of the tests that are recognised as proof of language proficiency at German universities can be found here:

  • Further information on the admission process

The decision on admission usually rests with the higher education institution at which you are applying. For that reason, you should always inform yourself about the requirements for your chosen degree programme at the respective higher education institution.

Often you need to apply via uni-assist . Uni assist is an institution for applicants with international educational certificates, which checks and evaluates international study applications.
There is special information for refugees at uni-assist .

Refugees as auditors

As auditors, refugees can attend lectures at German colleges and universities. Berlin’s colleges and universities offer different auditor programs for refugees. Further details can be found on the universities’ websites.

Counseling and support for refugees at colleges and universities

Berlin’s public colleges and universities offer special counseling for refugees.

Special offerings for refugees at Berlin’s public colleges and universities


Colleges and colleges of the arts

Information / FAQs on studying and university admission for Refugees from Ukraine:

Centre for student refugees at Studierendenwerk Berlin

The “Centre for Student Refugees Berlin” offers refugee students and prospective students initial counseling and orientation on taking up and/or continuing studies as well as support for studies in Berlin (incl. information on language courses, residence permit). Here you can find further information:

Information on student funding for refugees

There are special regulations for students from Ukraine.

During the asylum procedure (Asylum Seekers Benefits Act)

Refugees who have filed for asylum and whose application has not yet been decided on will continue to receive payments under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act if they start university studies. This does not apply to asylum-seekers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal, or Serbia.

After an asylum procedure has been completed